Image Source: Twitter

The stories of Ukrainian fathers, husbands, and sons staying behind as their families flee to safer places are filling our news feeds. The accompanying images are nothing short of heart-breaking. Without a doubt there is something noble and brave in their actions but the choice to do otherwise had already been removed by the government’s demand that all men 18-60 remain in the country and join the fight against their Russian invaders. What comfort is nobility to a fatherless child?

There are also stories of young Russian men, serving in their compulsory military duty, who thought they were just going on “exercises” and have been surprised to find someone shooting back at them. This cannot be what their parents imagined for their sons when they watched them be conscripted into an army during peace time. What comfort is compelled bravery to a childless parent?

We are taught to pray: Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

We don’t know how this conflict will proceed, let alone how it will end. That more will die is certain. These will be the deaths of the noble and the brave as well as the frightened and the unwilling. That doesn’t change that these deaths are the unnecessary results of the temptations of the powerful and the corrupting forces of evil.

In the face of this heartbreak, we cling to the story of a God who does not let evil and the death it brings have the final word. We trust in the one who, with tears streaming down his face, yells into the darkness of a tomb and calls forth life. May the men of Ukraine and the sons of Russia be unbound and set free.

This is my prayer.

May God’s peace come to us all this day. -Pastor Peter